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Civil Services

The Indian Administrative Service (abbreviated as IAS) is the administrative civil service of the Government of India. IAS officers hold key positions in the Union Government, State governments and public-sector undertakings. Along with the police and forest services, the IAS is one of the three All India Services—its cadre can be employed both by the union government and the states. IAS officers are recruited by the Union government on the recommendation of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and posted under various State governments. The officers carry high respect and stature in the society coupled with the significant task of administering public offices, making it one of the most desirable jobs in India. While the respective State Governments have control over them, they can not censure or take disciplinary action against an IAS officer or an All-India service officer, without consulting the Union Government. The examination for getting into IAS is conducted by the UPSC. It has three stages (preliminary, mains and interview) and is considered to be extremely challenging. Entry into the IAS is considered very difficult. Almost all of the applicants rank IAS as their top choice because of the high prestige and diversity of career it offers. For example, in the 2011 batch, of the 425 selected candidates, 370 indicated IAS as their first preference, 25 chose IFS and 15 IRS, and 15 chose IPS. But when it came to second preference, 246 candidates marked IRS as their choice, while only 120 marked IPS as their second choice and 49 as IFS. In the year 2013, UPSC has come up with the new pattern and new syllabus for conducting the IAS exam. Prior to 2013, the candidates were required to take two optional subjects but as per the new syllabus the aspirants are now required to choose only one. In the new pattern, more weightage is given to the General Studies papers, which consists of a total of four papers of two-hundred and fifty marks each. There are a total of three steps included in the recruitment process- passing the IAS Preliminary exams, which are considered relatively easy, and then the IAS Main paper, which is known to be extremely challenging. The candidates who successfully clear the IAS Mains are then interviewed by board members to test on personality skills. After being selected, candidates are allocated to "cadres." There is one cadre in each Indian state, except for three joint cadres: Assam–Meghalaya, Manipur–Tripura, and Arunachal Pradesh–Goa–Mizoram–Union Territories (AGMUT). The insider-outsider ratio (ratio of officers who are posted in their home states) is maintained as 1:2. as insiders. The rest are posted outsiders according to the roster in states other than their home states. Till 2008 there was no choice for any state cadre and the candidates, if not placed in the insider vacancy of their home states, were allotted to different states in alphabetic order of the roster, beginning with the letters A,H,M,T for that particular year. For example if in a particular year the roster begins from A, which means the first candidate in the roster will go to the Andhra Pradesh state cadre of IAS, the next one to Bihar, and subsequently to Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and so on in alphabetical order. The next year the roster starts from H, for either Haryana or Himachal Pradesh.( if it has started from Haryana in the previous occasion when it all started from H, then this time it would start from Himachal Pradesh). This highly intricate system has on one hand ensured that officers from different states are placed all over India, it has also resulted in wide disparities in the kind of professional exposure for officers, when we compare officers in small and big and also developed and backward state, since the system ensures that the officers are permanently placed to one state cadre. The only way the allotted state cadre can be changed is by marriage to an officer of another state cadre of IAS/IPS/IFS. One can even go to his home state cadre on deputation for a limited period, after which one has to invariably return to the cadre allotted to him or her. The centralising effect of these measures was considered extremely important by the system framers, but has received increasing criticism over the years. In his keynote address at the 50th anniversary of the Service in Mussoorie, former Cabinet Secretary Nirmal Mukarji argued that separate central, state and local bureaucracies should eventually replace the IAS as an aid to efficiency.There are also concerns that without such reform, the IAS will be unable to "move from a command and control strategy to a more interactive, interdependent system".

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